When I first began to read Tram 83, I was intrigued by the phrase “in a station whose metal structure is unfinished.” I wondered why the phrase was repeated so many times and what the meaning behind it was. Some quotes that first stood out to me were,
“A girl, dressed for a friday night in a station whose metal structure is unfinished.” (2)
“No doubt haunted by the girl dressed for a friday night in a station whose metal structure is unfinished.” (5)
“Two fat tears slid down the face of the man who’d arrived by train in this station whose metal structure…” (5)
The metal structure seemed to be a place that these folks had in common. It was their escape from the real world.
I also saw this metal structure as a representation of each of these people that inhabit it. They are all unfinished and possibly have not figured out their true place in this world. Their lives act as an unfinished structure. They are searching for meaning and purpose to keep them going in a world that is broken and unfinished. This metal structure is their way of pursuing the idea of possibly being whole.
The next thing I noticed while reading these passages is that Mujila starts to stop his sentences short and replaces the endings with “…”. He does not finish his sentence about the unfinished structure.
I saw this almost as Mujila using his sentences to represent the metal structure itself and the city-state. The city-state is experiencing blackouts with their electricity and their water is dirty and their government is crap and society needs help to rebuild the state back to its full potential. By leaving the last few words out, Mujila is having us as readers participate in the readings. He says this phrase enough times for us to know how to finish it ourselves. We are helping to rebuild the sentence, which reminds me of how Lucien tries to create an ideal city-state on paper and show everyone how great it could be. He is trying to complete the “unfinished structure” just as we as readers are completing the unfinished sentences Mujila creates for us.